The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
March 21, 2018
We are congregations who seek to be a collective expression of the Body of Christ,
joyfully participating in Christ's ongoing life and work. "Therefore encourage one
another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing."
(I Thessalonians 5:11)
Congregation of the week of March 25-31
First Presbyterian Church of Edgerton
Reverend Thomas Voigt
Clerk of Session:
Dave Hulstein, and
Praises and Prayer Requests
- God is growing our family through new attenders, new members, and baptisms. We praise God that mission does happen in small, rural communities!
- God has been faithful in seeing several of our members through long journeys through cancer treatments. We praise God for healing and strength!
- God has blessed us with unity, and we pray for continued grace to make every effort to maintain that unity.
- We're looking forward to the completion of Phase II of our audio/visual upgrade, and thanking God for the improved ability to communicate the gospel. We praise God as well for the grace seen in faithful and sacrificial giving.
- The session is committed to prayerfully discerning and articulating a vision statement as well as measurable goals for our church family in 2018.
- We are aware that even in a highly churched community, we are to be discerning of the many needs of those next door. We pray that we would be ever-sensitive, compassionate and proactive in seeking to attend to those needs.
- Our confirmation class of 11 students is nearing the end of year one of their journey (and having fun along the way!)
Book Discussion scheduled
SanDawna is inviting us to read The Pleasure of God: Finding Grace in the Ordinary by J. Ellsworth Kalas. A book discussion is scheduled for March 28 at 1:00 p.m. by Zoom. Readers, let Karen (firstname.lastname@example.org) know your email address, and she will email out a link to the scheduled Zoom discussion. If you are new to Zoom and would like to practice getting on a Zoom conference, Karen can set one up for you, just let her know.
The Paschal mystery
What we hear during Lent is the power and possibility of the paschal mystery, and that the way of the cross, the way to Easter, is through death. To appropriate the new life that is beyond the power of death means we must die with Christ who was raised for us. To live for Christ, we must die with him. New life requires a daily surrendering of the old life, letting go of the present order, so that we may embrace the new humanity. "I die every day!" asserts Paul (1 Corinthians 15:31). Resurrection necessitates death as a preceding act. The church's peculiar Lenten claim is that in dying we live, that all who are baptized into Christ are baptized into his death. To be raised with Christ means one must also die with Christ. In order to embrace the resurrection, we must experience the passion of Jesus. The way of the cross, the way to Easter, is through death of the "old self." In dying, we live.
Therefore, at the beginning of Lent, we are reminded that our possessions, our rulers, our empires, our projects, our families and even our lives do not last forever. "You are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19). The liturgies throughout Lent try to pry loose our fingers, one by one, from presumed securities and plunge us into unknown baptismal waters, waters that turn out to be not only our death tomb but surprisingly our womb of life. Rather than falling back into nothingness, we fall back on everlasting arms. Death? How can we fear what we have already undergone in baptism?
It is the power of the resurrection on the horizon ahead that draws us into repentance toward the cross and tomb. Through the intervention of God's gracious resurrection, lifelong changes in our values and behavior become possible. By turning from the end of the "old self" in us, Lenten repentance makes it possible for us to affirm joyfully, "Death is no more!" and to aim toward the landscape of the new age. Faithfully adhering to the Lenten journey of "prayer, fasting and almsgiving" leads to the destination of Easter.
During the final week, Holy Week, we hear the fullness of Christ's passion, his death, and resurrection. From Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and on to the Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday), all of Holy Week focuses on the passion. As his followers, we travel Christ's path of servanthood through the Lord's Supper and the suffering of the cross toward the glory of Easter, all of which underscores the inseparable link between the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Daily Prayer During Holy Week
These daily services for Morning, Midday and Evening Prayer are designed particularly for Holy Week but are appropriate for use throughout the Season of Lent.
What is transformation? Can you define transformation in 20 words or less?
Please take a moment and answer this question as creatively as possible. All out-of-the-box thinking is welcome. Your responses will be posted on the presbytery's website and used at the upcoming Transformation Training.
Transformation 2018 Ministry Event
Location: First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud, Minnesota
April 5-7, 2018
Please register TODAY! Hotels are filling fast due to a hockey tournament in Saint Cloud, so make your lodging reservations now. You may choose to let
know your attendance plans by email, and send your $60 to the presbytery office (4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar MN 56201).
Special needs, including dietary
Workshop Choices for
Friday Afternoon 1
Friday Afternoon 2
The cost for registration is $60, which includes lunch on Thursday and Friday, dinner on Thursday and breakfast on Saturday -- a fantastic deal! Pastors are asked to bring a group of folks from their congregation.
Minnesota Valleys Presbytery is partnering with Midwest Initiative for Leading Transition to host a two and half day transformation training event. The event is designed for congregation teams and will focus on the complexity of leading churches through a transformation process. The faculty will address the misconceptions of the one size fits most concepts of church growth strategies. Trained in building the capacities of leaders to enter systems, coach change and resourcing various congregational systems this event will assist participants in retooling for ministry in the 21st century.
Participants can expect to return home with a greater understanding of:
- Leading change in the 21st Century Church
- Working within systems
- Cultural and systemic challenges to ministry today
- Transformation models
- Vocational Discernment
- Visioning for the future
Call to Prayer
On May 3rd at Noon our nation will pause to observe The National Day of Prayer. The tradition goes back to 1952 when President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law the joint resolution of the United States Congress. This year's theme is "Pray for America - Unity" based upon Ephesians 4:3 "Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Join the presbytery in a Zoom prayer gathering led by moderator Stan Menning. Zoom instructions will be posted closer to the date. Mark your calendars now to participate in this powerful time of intercession and thanksgiving.
Grants Available from FPC Madelia
The Mission Redevelopment Committee of First Presbyterian Church, Madelia is seeking applications to receive grants. Qualifying projects may include:
- Development, formation, or redevelopment of Presbyterian churches
- Evangelism or recruitment of new members
- New building construction
- Renovations or capital improvements
- Presbyterian sponsored mission projects
A written letter of application describing the project and the amount of grant being requested should be submitted to the Mission Redevelopment Committee and postmarked by May 1, 2018. Grants will be selected and distributed by May 31, 2018.
Mission Redevelopment Committee
PO Box 156
Madelia MN 56062
Employee Assistance Program
from the Board of Pensions
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential resource included with your healthcare benefits at no cost to you. The EAP can help you with a variety of personal concerns, from handling everyday stress and anxiety, to dealing with disasters and other traumatic events, to achieving better work/life balance. The program offers phone, video-based, and in-person support, personalized assistance, and referrals to licensed counselors and professional resources in your community.
You must be
- an active member enrolled in Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO or EPO
- an eligible family member (regardless of residence)
- any person living in an active member's household (not necessarily a member of the plan)
The EAP is not available to those enrolled in the Medicare Supplement Plan.
Thank you from Breyli Abileni Marcos Calderón
Occidente Presbytery 2017
Presbytery of Minnesota
Brethren in Christ, it is a pleasure to greet you and I hope that Our Lord has you in His care when you receive this letter and that you are enjoying the rich and abundant blessings of Our Creator.
The reason I am writing you is to thank you for the financial support that you are giving me, Breyli Abileni Marcos Calderón. I am using this money, thanks to God, to finish the last year of my university degree in teaching preschool children and did my six months of practice teaching in the 15th of September School in Quetzaltenango. There were thirty three boys and girls in the class, five hours a day. It was a very pleasant time as I was able to get to know many people, especially the little children.
It only remains for me to express my gratitude that you continue to help me with my studies. I know that God has plans for my life and with your financial support, I will reach my goals for the glory of God. I pray for you and your ministry. May God richly bless you.
Breyli Abileni Marcos Calderón
Steering Congregations to Formational Resources
The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development exists to resource congregations. We have identified six critical areas: discipleship, evangelism, mission, spiritual leadership, stewardship and worship. Each area has one or two individuals who serve as point persons. The point person's goal is to steer you in the right direction toward valuable resource. Please let us know how we can come alongside of your congregation.
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities
The following congregation within the bounds of our presbytery is currently seeking pastoral leadership:
First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor, 3/4 time up to full-time
Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall
Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Part-time Solo Pastor
See what's happening on our Facebook site: